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Top Receivers in NFL Draft: CeeDee Lamb

Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb checks in at No. 3 in our ranking of the top receivers in the NFL Draft.
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Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb checks in at No. 3 in our ranking of the top receivers in the NFL Draft.

Guarding Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb is tough.

Tackling him is even tougher.

“Yards after the catch. I enjoy making people miss and making the most of every opportunity I get,” Lamb said at the Scouting Combine.

Lamb put up ridiculous numbers. As a sophomore, he caught 65 passes for 1,158 yards and 11 touchdowns. As a junior, he caught 62 passes for 1,327 yards and 14 touchdowns. He was a YAC machine. Of his 21.4-yard average in 2019, a staggering 11.2 came after the catch. That was No. 1 among our top 32 prospects.

His elusiveness was born on the playground. “Back in Louisiana, we’d just grab rocks and throw them at each other and if you get hit, you get hit,” he told the Enid News. Between his freshman and sophomore seasons, he added about 30 pounds. “So I could run through arm tackles,” Lamb told the Norman Transcript. “It happened a lot of times last year, where I felt like I could just run through them, but I didn’t have enough leg strength. That’s been a major part of my [workouts], getting my legs right.”

Lamb was born about an hour away from Baton Rouge, La., and grew up an LSU fan but the family was forced to move to Houston following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. When Lamb was 14, his stepfather was shot and killed. A cousin died of lupus.

All of that drove Lamb to new heights.

“It’s kind of being in a dark place at a young age and not having everything that I wanted growing up,” Lamb said. “It pushes me a lot to get a lot of things that I want now, and it all comes with work. So, why not work for what I want? I’d rather work than it just be given to me.”

Lamb is battling the Alabama duo of Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs to be the first receiver off the board. Lamb’s not worried about the pecking order, though.

“Those guys are really talented. I feel like I’m talented enough to be in that position and that argument,” Lamb said. “This receiver class this year is honestly unbelievable in my eyes. You can’t really go wrong with anybody you draft in the first, second, third or fourth rounds. Doesn’t matter. The seventh. You’re going to get a great pick. Me and the guys, we were just talking about it, we’re very deep in this class.”

What we like

Lamb is a big play waiting to happen, whether it’s turning a short pass into a big gain or going deep (12 catches on 22 targets thrown 20-plus yards downfield). According to Pro Football Focus, he forced 26 broken tackles – second-most in the nation among receivers by volume and percentage. At 6-foot-1 5/8 and 198 pounds, he’s not a big guy but he is an effective blocker. While he dropped five passes (as many as Jeudy), he’s got the better ball skills. His drop rate was 4.5 percent. 

What we don’t like

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While Jeudy is polished, Lamb isn’t a great route runner. Lamb feasted on a buffet of bad Big 12 pass defenses, so life is going to get considerably more difficult. His 4.50 speed is good but not great.

BILL'S RECEIVER PREVIEW

No. 1: Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy

No. 2: Alabama’s Henry Ruggs

No. 3: Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb

No. 4: LSU’s Justin Jefferson

No. 5: Baylor’s Denzel Mims

No. 6: Clemson’s Tee Higgins

No. 7: Arizona State’s Brandon Aiyuk

No. 8: Colorado’s Laviska Shenault

No. 9: USC’s Michael Pittman

No. 10: Texas’ Devin Duvernay

No. 11: Notre Dame’s Chase Claypool

No. 12: TCU’s Jalen Reagor

SI.com: The New Receiver U.